Three area women add multicultural sorority to U.Va.

Three young women from Prince William County have changed the face of sororities at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Rachel Dean of Dale City, Cindy Humston of Montclair and Danielle McCamey of Woodbridge are among the founding sisters of the new Pi Colony of the national Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority.

“We are the only sorority at U.Va. that utilizes the word ‘multicultural’ in its name and in its mission statement,” said Humston, who along with the other three women were nursing students. The reason is to clearly state the importance of diversity to their membership, she said.

The chapter has 12 members at U.Va. and over 300 members nationwide.

The founding sisters themselves are examples of diversity.

Humston, the treasurer and historian for the group, is white. Dean, the community service and social chairwoman, and McCamey, vice president and parliamentarian, are black, as is Cynthia Robinson, the secretary and membership director.

Of three remaining officers, President Bahareh Moradi is Middle Eastern and Leah Mayoral, the education and publicity chairwoman, is of Mexican and Mayan descent.

“We didn’t want to be part of the typical sorority that typecasts its members” and who traditionally share a certain social status and/or ethnicity, said Humston, a 1999 C.D. Hylton High School graduate.

Current enrollment figures for the 2002-03 school year show that U.Va.’s student population is 69.7 percent white, 8.9 percent black, 10.8 percent Asian, 4.5 percent international non-resident foreign, 2.7 percent unknown/unclassified, 2.9 percent Hispanic and 0.3 percent American Indian.

According to Humston, the sorority looks for women who want to make a difference by serving others and who are supportive of the multicultural focus.

Theta Sorority sisters must maintain a semester and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and perform at least 24 hours of voluntary service per semester.

“I encourage my Colony members to participate in at least six hours of service per month, but to strive for much more,” said community service chairwoman Dean.

The sisters say that they have learned much from each other.

“I have learned about what it is like to be American-born from my sister who emigrated from Iran. I have seen the current issues involving our government and terrorism in a completely different light through her eyes. I have learned that I, like many others, hold certain prejudices,” Dean said.

Prior to attending the university, these three women were busy in their own Prince William communities.

Dean said her first lesson in community service was as a child “when I balled up old clothes and attempted to toss them in the trash. My mother retrieved them and helped me fold them neatly in a bag and dropped them off at a local Salvation Army drop-off point.”

McCamey says her mother instilled in her the importance of giving back to the community. She was a volunteer at Potomac Place nursing home prior to entering college.

Humston volunteered as a certified emergency medical technician for the Dale City Volunteer Fire and Rescue Team where she devoted an average of 35 to 40 hours a month.